- The Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund outperformed the MSCI ACWI in the fourth quarter of 2021.
- Improving global economic data has broadly been supportive for equity markets, although COVID-19 remains a major factor for the global economy, and thus equity markets. Importantly, earnings announcements for companies in the portfolio have been largely positive with demonstrated above-market growth and generally constructive outlooks for 2022 and beyond. While equity valuations are not cheap, and valuation headwinds as well as a more hawkish Federal Reserve must be acknowledged, we believe the long-term drivers and projections for attractive growth in environmental solutions remain. This view is further bolstered by global policy measures, build-back-greener initiatives, planned industry and sector adaptation roadmaps, consumer behavior, fast-moving technological advances, and the ever-growing financial cost of natural disasters and climate change.
- Continued good results from high quality companies and strong demand for environmental solutions enabled the Fund to outperform during a volatile but positive quarter for the broader market. Strong share price gains were delivered by companies as diverse as those active in advanced buildings energy efficiency controls, water infrastructure components, advanced and efficient computing power for resource management, and leaders in specialty bio-based materials.
- From a sector perspective, positive allocation led the way for outperformance as no exposure to Communication Services and Financials was helpful.
- In Industrials, strong positioning and good execution despite an environment that presented challenges – such as supply chain disruptions, raw material and input cost increases – differentiated portfolio holdings and enabled outperformance. For example, Schneider Electric (Power Network Efficiency, France) continued to impress with solid earnings and demonstrated pricing power, reflecting its leading competitive positioning in buildings energy management. Similarly, Materials holding Linde (Water Treatment equipment, US) produced a strong set of quarterly results demonstrating robust revenue growth driven by improving industrial gas volumes and a strong pricing environment globally with continued margin improvement and further cost synergies to be realized following the recent merger between Linde and Praxair. Another strong contributor to returns was Mediatek (Industrial Energy Efficiency, Taiwan), a semiconductor company that provides critical chips for advanced connectivity applications and digital infrastructure. The company has raised guidance and is launching new products – including within the 5G opportunity.
- The portfolio’s allocation to Information Technology lagged the broader market. This was a result of three factors: software names in the portfolio only generating small positive or even small negative returns due to a broader market rotation out of higher growth names; one software name, TeamViewer, in which both the investment team and market lost conviction, thus ending sharply lower; and headwinds of not owning benchmark names such as Apple and Nvidia.
- Detractors during the period suffered from announcements of disappointing growth in revenues, a shift in business strategy, or had a more challenging time navigating rising input costs and raw material prices. TeamViewer (Transport Energy Efficiency, Germany) released disappointing results that did not meet management’s prior guidance and were also below expectations regarding customer retention and margins. The Fund exited the position during the quarter. Vestas Wind Systems (Wind Power Generation Equipment, Denmark), a leading wind turbine supplier and service provider, fell due to rising supply chain costs, and logistical challenges, which adversely impacted operating margins. Its logistics issues are unlikely to unwind quickly in 2022. Finally, Westrock (Logistics, Food Safety & Packaging, US) shares closed lower for the quarter against a backdrop of weaker than expected results, higher recyclable corrugated cardboard prices and higher energy costs. Longer term, ongoing consolidation in the pulp and paper industry, improving volumes, pricing fundamentals in its end markets, and a stronger balance sheet will remain key positive attributes for this leader in more sustainable packaging solutions.
- For the portfolio, stock selection remains the key driver for outperformance. During sharp sector or style rotations, the inherently more cyclical nature of the thematic universe can be a detractor – thus the investment team carefully balances the portfolio not only in terms of environmental themes and respective end markets, but importantly also between more cyclical and defensive business models. The team looks for above average predictability of revenues, attractive free cash flow and strong balance sheets – these quality characteristics enable overall portfolio resilience during more volatile market conditions.
- The investment team continues to have a strong pipeline of interesting opportunities and is currently working on names in Buildings Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable & Efficient Agriculture, and solutions furthering a circular economy, among others.
Performance(as of 12/31/21)
|1-Month||Quarter||YTD||1 Year||3 Year||5 Year||10 Year||Since Inception1|
|Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund - Investor Class||5.62||8.62||21.95||21.95||25.09||16.21||13.46||8.58|
|Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund - Class A||5.55||8.54||21.89||21.89||25.06||16.20||13.46||8.58|
|Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund - Institutional Class||5.63||8.64||22.23||22.23||25.41||16.50||13.74||8.86|
|MSCI ACWI (Net) Index||4.00||6.68||18.54||18.54||20.38||14.40||11.85||7.58|
Performance data quoted represent past performance, which does not guarantee future results. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. To obtain performance for the most recent month-end call 800.767.1729 or visit impaxam.com
Figures include reinvested dividends, capital gains distributions and changes in principal value.
Performance (as of 12/31/21)
|1-Month||Quarter||YTD||1 Year||3 Year||5 Year||10 Year||Since Inception1|
|Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund - Class A (Load)||-0.24||2.59||15.16||15.16||22.74||14.90||12.82||8.14|
1The inception date for the Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund Institutional Class and the Investor Class is March 27, 2008. The Class A shares inception date is May 1, 2013.
ˆTotal annual Global Environmental Markets Fund operating expenses, gross of any fee waivers or reimbursements, for Institutional Class, Investor Class and Class A shares are 0.95%, 1.20%, and 1.20%, respectively, as of 5/1/2021 prospectus. Total annual Global Environmental Markets Fund operating expenses, net of any fee waivers, reimbursements and acquired fund fees and expenses, for Institutional Class, Investor Class, and Class A shares were 0.95%, 1.20% and 1.20%, respectively.ˆ
The performance information shown for Class A represents the performance of the Investor Class shares for the period prior to Class A inception. Expenses have not been adjusted to reflect the expenses allocable to Class A shares. Class A inception date return since May 1, 2013 is 12.27% (annualized). A 1.00% CDSC (contingent deferred sales charge) may be charged on any shares sold within 18 months of purchase over $1 million. POP (public offering price) reflects the maximum sales load for the Fund’s Class A Shares of 5.50%.
Global Industry Classification Standard† Sectors
(for quarter ended 12/31/21)
Average Active Weights (%)
|Total Relative Contribution (%)|
†The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) is a standardized classification system for equities developed jointly by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and Standard & Poor’s. The GICS methodology is used by the MSCI indexes, which include domestic and international stocks, as well as by a large portion of the professional investment management community.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Portfolio Characteristics(as of 12/31/21)
|Market Cap (weighted avg.)∱||$110,897M||$431,564M|
|Number of Securities||48||2,966|
Top 10 Holdings
(as of 12/31/21)
Linde PLC 3.5%, Waste Management, Inc. 3.5%, American Water Works Co., Inc. 3.4%, Agilent Technologies, Inc. 3.3%, Schneider Electric SE 3.1%, GEA Group AG 2.7%, Koninklijke DSM N.V. 2.7%, IDEX Corp. 2.6%, Hubbell, Inc. 2.6% and Siemens AG 2.6%. Holdings are subject to change.
ƒWeighted Average is an average in which each quantity to be averaged is assigned a weight. These weightings determine the relative importance of each quantity on the average.
∼Forward Price-Earnings Ratio or P/E FY1 ratio is a ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings over the next 12 months.
∘Return on Equity: The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders’ equity. Return on equity measures a corporation’s profitability by revealing how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested.
∞A historical Beta is used for Funds with greater than two years of performance history under the same mandate. Five year Beta is used. Beta reflects the sensitivity of a Fund’s return to fluctuations in its benchmark; A beta for a benchmark is 1.00: A beta greater than 1.00 indicates above-average volatility and risk.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author as of the date of this report. All information is historical and not indicative of future results and subject to change. This information is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Past performance does not guarantee future results.